An Historic Moment for Turkey
21 July, 2016
By Saeed Qureshi
The Turkish nation deserves heartfelt and sincere congratulations on saving their great country and democracy from plunging into the abyss of military rule or dictatorship. The military coup engineered against the incumbent Turkish president Recep Erdogan and his government by a rebel military faction has fizzled out. Erdogan and his ruling party AKP (Justice and Development Party) have prevailed. In this bloody power tussle, the casualties were 265 dead including 104 rebel soldiers. Besides some 1440 people were injured.
Since 1919 there have been six attempts from the Turkish army to takeover of power in Turkey. Excepting the one led by Kamal Ataturk the others derailed Turkey and inflicted deep scars on the political landscape of that great country. The army takeover led by Kamal Ataturk was the need of the time as the foreign enemy forces were slaughtering the Turkish people and the then king caliph Abdul Majid-II was in league with invading forces rather than siding with his own people. That was a turning point in the chequered history of Turkey which until 1919 was a caliphate for centuries.
No one is perfect in this imperfect world. Rajab Tayyab Erdogan (In Turkish language it is written Recep Tayyip Erdoğan) spent his early youth by selling lemonade and sesame buns on the streets of Istanbul for a living. He began his political career as the Mayor of Istanbul city from March 1994 to November 1998. After founding his political party AKP Erdogan has served Turkey brilliantly to such an extent that now Turkey is not only militarily strong but also economically a robust country. AKP is the incumbent ruling party. From 14 March 2003 to 28 August 2014 Erdogan had been the prime minister of Turkey. Since 28 august 2014 he is the president of Turkish Republic.
The revolution of Kamal Ataturk laid down the foundations of a modern Turkey. Turkey is a land of unique nature. It joins both the European continent as well Asia. But the most enchanting dimension of Turkey is that it is an enlightened Islamic country where religious dogmatism has been buried for all time to come. Turkey offers Brilliant example of modern Islamic state that is what all Islamic state ought to be in the present era of clash of civilizations with a mission to march shoulder to shoulder with the developed nations.
History is made and nations are built by the individuals with extraordinary traits and exceptional qualities. Some of these qualities are unflinching courage, bounteous talent, sagacity, genius, blotless character and the ability to take right decisions in face of stupendous crises. In Turkey’s context; it was Mustafa Kamal Ataturk who in 1924 created the modern Turkey with secularism as its paramount anchor and armed forces as its defenders.
After 85 years, the pendulum is swinging towards the other side with Prime Minister Rajab Tayyab Erdoğan (in Turkish language it is Recep Tayyab Erdoğan), reinventing Turkey to conform it to the imperatives of the present day world with Islamic identity. Both these heroes represent two ends of the fulcrum but essentially serve the same glorious purpose of turning Turkey into a modern state.
Kamal Ataturk knocked down the orthodox caliphate to replace it with a state based upon liberal Islam, modernism and secularism. Erdoğan is engaged in an historic task of embracing Islam with the essentials of the modern societies. As a teenager, this most illustrious icon, revolutionary, progressive, truly Muslim and a popular prime minister of Turkey, sold lemonade and sesame buns on the streets of Istanbul for a living.
Ever since his advent in politics and as the prime minister of Turkey and now as the president, Tayyab Erdogan has been waging a multi-dimensional war at home and aboard, in order to bring Turkey into the comity of developed nations, while retaining its Islamic image, spirit and ethos.
The unscathed emergence of Erdogan and his defiant reaction to July 15 military coup speaks for his courage and tenacity and even popularity among the Turkish people. Upon his call the crowds swarmed on the streets and roads of main cities including Istanbul and Ankara and blocked the movement of the rebel soldiers and their military vehicles and tanks.
In a hastily pre-arranged news conference at the Istanbul airport after landing from his holidaying Erdogan said that “The uprising was an "act of treason", and those responsible would pay a heavy price.” The prime minister Yildrim sounded the same tough warning at a news conference in Ankara. He alleged that “The members of the "parallel structure" , government shorthand for the followers of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen - were in the hands of Turkish justice.”
One can imagine the retaliation of the incumbent government of both prime minister Bin Ali Yildrim and president Erdogan announcing to hold criminal investigations against the captured rebel soldiers and officers whose number is estimated to be nearly 3000.
The writer is a senior journalist and a former diplomat. You can also read this and other articles on my blog www.uprightopinion.com`